Chronic exposure to high alcohol concentrations in experimental animals may induce Iron overload and oxidative stress



Background: Most studies on preventive or harmful effects of alcohol have some limitations of inability to measure quantity of alcohol consumed by study participants. Objectives: This study investigates the concentration of alcohol consumed that can lead to increased levels of iron indices and impact on some markers of oxidative stress in experimental rabbits. Materials and methods: Thirty male rabbits divided into 5 groups of 6 animals each were used for the study. They were fed with 5mL of 4%, 12%, 20% and 40% food grade ethanol daily for 6 weeks by gavage while the group 5 (control) was given water. Thereafter, they were anaesthetized using chloroform and blood collected by cardiac puncture. Serum iron, total iron binding capacity (TIBC), uric acid, albumin, malondialdehyde (MDA) and ferritin were assayed by colorimetric and ELISA techniques. Percentage transferring saturation (%TS) was calculated as serum iron divided by TIBC. ANOVA was used to compare the means between the groups while Pearson correlation coefficient was used to test the association between the measured variables with alcohol concentrations. Results: Serum iron, %TS, ferritin, MDA and uric acid levels were higher while TIBC and albumin were lower with increasing concentrations of alcohol. All measured variables except TIBC and albumin correlated positively while TIBC and albumin correlated negatively with concentrations of alcohol. Conclusion: This study suggests that chronic alcohol consumption >12% increases serum markers of iron status and oxidative stress in experimental animals. Caution may be applied in the consumption of higher concentrations of alcohol in order to avoid the consequences of iron overload and oxidative stress.

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